sloth and celebration and remembrance

i’m wondering if there is any way to write a blog that touches on both gaza and mariah carey gracefully. i haven’t written in a while, because i have been taking a moment.

i spent most of the last week in a mumu and pajama pants playing abstract chase and surprise games with my nephew, old school nintendo and nerts with my family, EASILY not looking at email, facebook or twitter. this intentional sloth is part of our familial bonding process. watching movies, cooking and saying to each other, “i haven’t gotten dressed in X days!” is our big annual tradition.

this year i took a major step and had my partner join me, for what was her first christmas ever, and our first christmas with outside witnesses. early early on christmas morning i crept downstairs by myself and i felt what i understood to be nostalgia in the truest sense. i was the first one awake, just like when i was a kid. i was always the one to do reconnaissance to see what santa had brought to each of us. i remember being the big sister, the surprise and mystery of it all. i remember our dog for the years she was with us, pulling at the ornaments at the bottom of the tree and a couple of times pulling the whole thing over, which just upset her completely. i remember our first christmas after she died and how i kept looking for her to be under the tree. i remember christmases when we visited extended family and christmases when i didn’t want to…i felt the peace i have towards them all now. i just felt this weight of time, measured by these rituals of giving and anticipating and repeating, laying down the path of shared memory for our family. and now our family is growing in every direction, with new paths being laid down; none of us are children now, my baby sister is pregnant with her second child and the changes are so continuous and fast that there’s barely time to remember, to cherish, to honor the safe and loving place my parents created for us.

over the week, a new line of thinking and writing crystalized, which i want to explore in the coming decade. i can’t quite put it into words here, but it has a lot to do with the art of family as a central building block of community, learning how to be in the tension and familiarity of family, to work through, to find the right levels for that unconditional love when there are very complex and opposing politics and life choices present. i’m giving myself at least 10 years to flesh it out :)

i know i have been working too much because i completely missed that mariah carey came out with a new album. she long ago gave up singing the way i most loved – really blaring through her pipes like she had access to some unlimited source of air that didn’t require breathing. but i am still unexplainably pleased by her little soft high sounds, and at the very least should know when she releases an album.

i used to always pride myself on my personal sustainability, my commitment to weekends, hours spent making art and listening to music. i realized on the flight to see my folks that the last time i had spent a day not working was in the hospital…and while there i was wishing i could do work the whole time.

there is so so much work to do. not because of the places i work, which are a lot but manageable…but because of the world in which we live. there is not enough time in the day to do the work of justice, locally, internationally. i don’t even try to hold it all in my heart at one time, i don’t think humans are actually capable of maintaining both sanity AND awareness of our total suffering at the same time. but there are political moments that arise that need response – fighting, grieving, educating.

last year, right after christmas, israel launched an attack on gaza. this year, i am returning from vacation to reminders that we must remember this atrocity, which continues, as the oppression and violence against palestinian people is a daily practice by the israeli government, financially backed by the u.s. my friend angel is in cairo, in part of an effort to get medical supplies to gaza. i’m leaving now to attend a solidarity event here in detroit, and in 2010 will be working with the u.s. academic and cultural boycott of israel throughout the year, with events at the allied media conference and the us social forum to continuously escalate the pressure on the u.s. to withdraw financial and military support to the vicious government of israel.

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